LCCI Tasks FG on Special Support for Dangote Refinery, Air Peace, Other Strategic Companies

Dike Onwuamaeze

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has  tasked the federal government on the need to provide special support mechanisms for strategic companies and industries like the Dangote Group and Air Peace that are playing critical roles in achieving inclusive economic growth in the country. 

The Director General of LCCI, Dr. Chinyere Almona, said yesterday in a press release titled “LCCI Statement on The Need to Support Strategic Industries” that the federal government could pave the way for a more resilient, diversified, and inclusive economy that benefits all segments of the Nigerian society by prioritising the needs of these strategic companies and taking proactive steps to address their challenges.

Almona stated that it is imperative for the government to recognise the pivotal role that certain companies are playing in driving growth, fostering innovation, and creating employment opportunities as Nigeria strives to stabilise prices, boost FOREX inflows, and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).

She said that these strategic companies that operate in key sectors of the economy like manufacturing, agriculture, technology, aviation and infrastructure are serving as the backbone of the economy and contributing significantly to its stability and resilience.

The press release stated that “the LCCI acknowledges the significant impact that Dangote Refinery is beginning to make on Nigeria’s economy, particularly in achieving national self-sufficiency in the production of diesel and aviation fuel.

“The 650,000 barrels per day refinery, a project of monumental scale, has started to fulfill its promise by addressing critical issues in the Nigerian energy sector.

“It was reported that with 100 million litres of diesel pumped into the market last week, the Dangote Refinery helped crash the price of diesel from about N1,800 to N1,225 per litre. With another tranche of supply in the coming days, the price of diesel is expected to drop to a low of about N1,000 per litre.

“If the refinery commences the production of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) next month, petrol prices are also expected to dip, creating a great relief on cost of energy across all sectors of the economy.”

Furthermore, the LCCI recognised the refinery’s contribution to enhancing energy security and reducing the country’s reliance on imported fuel.

“The availability of locally produced diesel signifies a significant step towards achieving self-sufficiency in energy production, ultimately bolstering Nigeria’s economic resilience,” it said.

Speaking in the same vein, the LCCI also identified the Air Peace’s commencement of international flights to the United Kingdom as another game-changer that   has become a delight to Nigerian travellers “as this has forced foreign airlines to crash their prices by about 60 percent in response to the cheaper rates by Air Peace.”

It added:  “We need more support for local companies to play in sectors that have hitherto been monopolised by foreign companies.

“More local airlines covering more international routes means more aviation supply chain-related jobs, more foreign currency savings and earnings, and more reduction in the prices of international flight tickets in Nigeria.”

It stated that enabling optimal utilisation of all our Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) would create “a sustainable source of foreign currency savings and earnings for our country.”

The chamber pointed out that these companies deserved government’s strategic support because they are exposed to the adverse impacts of economic downturns, market uncertainties and global disruptions in spite of their strategic importance.

It also noted that the need for targeted interventions and support from the government for these companies has been intensified by the ongoing challenges that had been exacerbated by the rising cost of doing business and other socio-economic factors like threatening insecurity conditions.

“Therefore, we call upon the federal government to implement measures aimed at providing special support to these strategic companies.”

This support could include “concessional credit and low-interest loan facilitation, grants, or waivers to eligible companies to facilitate their operational continuity, investment in infrastructure and technological advancement.”

The chamber canvassed for the creation of “a conducive policy environment by improving policies and regulatory frameworks that incentivise innovation, entrepreneurship and long-term investment.”

It further urged the government to enhance international trade potential of Nigerian businesses “by facilitating market access and trade opportunities both domestically and internationally, enabling companies to expand their reach and tap into new growth markets.”

It also suggested that government should encourage “funding of innovative research and development by allocating resources towards initiatives aimed at promoting product diversification and value addition across strategic sectors.”

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